Amid Canada row, UK says trade talks with India on
September 19, 2023  21:25
The United Kingdom government said on Tuesday that the 'serious allegations' over the murder of a Sikh separatist leader in Canada will not impact its own ongoing trade negotiations with India.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's spokesperson at 10 Downing Street in London was asked about the impact the India-Canada diplomatic row may have on India-UK bilateral relations, after a government spokesperson said the UK remains in 'close touch' with the Canadian authorities over the issue.

India and the UK have been negotiating a free trade agreement (FTA) since last year, completing 12 rounds towards a pact aimed at significantly enhancing the estimated GBP 36-billion bilateral trade partnership.

"Work on the trade negotiations will continue as before," Sunak's spokesperson told reporters.

The Canadian authorities will conduct their work which we're not going to pre-empt, the spokesperson said.

Asked whether it was appropriate to pursue a trade deal given the allegations, the PM's spokesperson said 'it's important not to get ahead of the work that our Canadian partners are doing in regard to this allegation'.

"India have put out their own statement on this. For our part, when we have concerns with countries we're negotiating trade deals with, we'll raise them directly," the spokesperson said, adding that the UK was  not looking to conflate these issues.

It follows Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's statement in Parliament on Monday that the authorities are 'actively pursuing credible allegations' related to Indian government involvement in the murder of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, the Chief of Khalistan Tiger Force and a designated terrorist, in British Columbia in June.    -- PTI
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